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Casglwyr a Chasgliadau

Chwefror 2014

The unknown soldier

Postiwyd gan Jennifer Barsby ar 27 Chwefror 2014

As part of Amgueddfa Cymru’s First World War centenary programme the collections relating to this period will be conserved, digitised and made available online. My role at the museum is Textile Conservator so I am responsible for the practical care of the textile collections across all seven sites. There are many WW1 objects in the textile collection; most take the form of commemorative or souvenir pieces while others are costumes and accessories.

One of the objects recently conserved for the project is an embroidered panel measuring 43.5cm x 53.5cm maker unknown, it is made from a single piece of royal blue silk satin embroidered with flags and text which reads ‘VICTORY FOR THE ALLIES MALTA PRESENT’ in yellow silk thread using stem stitch. It also features a photograph of a Welsh soldier printed onto a postcard which is slipped inside a frame made from card and covered in painted silk. The frame is tacked to the satin along the bottom and sides with the top edge left open. The flags are made with lines of silk floss which have been laid down to form the coloured sections and secured in a criss-cross, net like fashion and couched using a very fine thread. Thicker, cotton threads are used to define the sections of colour, the flags and poles are made from a coiled paper thread with a cotton core.

When it came to the conservation studio the panel was in a fair condition with some light surface soiling all over and creasing across the silk from being folded around the frame at some point, probably before it came to the museum. It is possible that the panel once had an adhesive backing as the embroidery threads on the reverse appear stiff and flattened. There is also some abrasion to the surface of the embroidery threads and satin floating yarns. The top and bottom edges are frayed and there are several splits in the ground fabric where it has been stitched through.

The conservation treatment began with a surface clean using a micro vacuum to pick up dust and fluff. It was then humidified to remove the creases; we cannot iron historic textiles because the heat and pressure of conventional irons can cause further damage. Instead we use gentle techniques with cold water vapour or in this case, a combination of materials layered up to introduce moisture gradually to the textile giving it time to penetrate the fibres. Once the fibres were relaxed, glass weights were used to hold them in position whilst drying. The photograph was removed during the humidification process to avoid any damage. The next stage was to support the splits in the satin which affect the stability of the textile. Fine silk crepeline was chosen to do this because it is gives a light support but is almost transparent, so even though it covers the reverse you can still see the threads; it was dyed blue to match the colour of the satin. The crepeline was fixed to the textile using a very fine layer of thermoplastic adhesive, which was applied to the dyed crepeline and allowed to dry. The adhesive was then re-activated to bond it to the reverse of the panel using a heated spatula, the bond created is enough to support the textile but not so strong that it cannot be removed in the future if required. The frayed edges were then laid out and secured though to the backing by working a blanket stitch along the edge using a fine polyester thread.

The textile is now back in store but will soon be available to view online and may one day go on display at St Fagans. Keep checking the blog for more updates as the project progresses!

The Soldier in the photograph is yet to be identified if you recognise him please contact the museum via Elen Philips Principal Curator: Contemporary & Community History Tel: 029 2057 3432 or on Twitter: @StFagansTextile

A Window into the Industry Collections

Postiwyd gan Mark Etheridge ar 27 Chwefror 2014

This month we have been donated six lamp checks to add to our very comprehensive collection of checks. Lamp checks informed colliery management of who was in work and became vital when rescue services needed to know how many men were actually underground during an incident such as a fire or explosion. Colliery check systems apparently became common during the late nineteenth century and became mandatory in 1913 after an amendment to the 1911 Coal Mines Act. The two lamp checks shown here were manufactured by E. Thomas & Williams at their Cambrian Works in Aberdare in 2013 using original dies owned by the company. The one on the left was produced to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Big Pit operating as a museum.

If you would like to find out more information on check and tokens then check out an article written by our coal curator on Rhagor.

http://www.museumwales.ac.uk/rhagor/article/lampchecks

You can also see a selection of checks and tokens from our collection on our online database ‘Images of Industry’.

http://amgueddfacms/industry/images/?action=browse_category&category=1716

 

 

This ophthalmoscope was used by colliery nurse Sister Iris Evans for checking ears and eyes in Pochin and Oakdale Collieries. After completing her training in 1952 Sister Evans joined the National Coal Board as a nursing officer at Pochin Colliery in 1955. Later she was transferred to Oakdale Colliery. She retired in 1985 finishing her career as Senior Nursing Officer for South Wales Area NCB. During her career she helped out during the Six Bells Colliery disaster in 1960. She also vaccinated many miners at Lady Windsor Colliery during a smallpox outbreak in South Wales in the 1950s.

 

 

This large 15 ton piece of coal is now located at Bedwellty Park, Tredegar, and is Grade II listed. It was cut at the Yard Level, Tredegar as a single block with the intention to display it at the Great Exhibition of 1851. It was originally 20 tons, however, after a 5 ton piece broke away in transportation it was decided not to transport it to London as it might not survive the journey. It was subsequently set up in the grounds of Bedwellty House. The smaller block of 2 tons (to the left) was cut in 1951 from the same seam as the earlier one. It was exhibited at the Festival of Britain in London, before being placed next to the earlier block in Bedwellty Park.

 

 

Follow us on Twitter - @IndustryACNMW

 

Ionawr 2014

A Window into the Industry Collections

Postiwyd gan Mark Etheridge ar 29 Ionawr 2014

We have had a number of interesting objects coming into the Industry collections since my last Blog. Here are just a few.

This wooden full hull ship model is of the m.v. Innisfallen. The Innisfallen was built in 1969 to inaugurate British & Irish Line’s Swansea to Cork ferry service. She was eventually sold to Corsica Ferries and then to Sancak Lines, Turkey. After a number of name changes she was broken up in 2004.

 

The commemorative plate below was manufactured by Ceramic Arts in 1989. It commemorates both the National Justice For Mineworkers Campaign, 5th Anniversary of 1984-85 strike, and the centenary of the National Union of Mineworkers.

 

This illuminated address was presented to Harry Brean by the workmen of the Risca Collieries for bravery during the “Gob Fire” at the Old Black Vein Colliery between July 12th and August 9th 1918. Presented towards the end of the First World War, it is interesting to note that the address states that “the Coal Mines produce their Great Heroes no less than the Battlefield”. The address is of a standard format that was printed by the Western Mail Ltd., Cardiff, and then hand illuminated. Note that his name is spelt incorrectly on address!

 

The object below we believe to be a calendar mount. It was printed on tinplate by Metal Box Company Limited in Neath, c.1960. The image is of a painting by the artist Harold Forster. The original oil on board painting depicts the hot strip mill at Abbey iron and steel works in Port Talbot and dates to 1955. The original painting is in our collection and details of this work and others by Harold Forster can be seen on our Images of Industry online catalogue - http://www.museumwales.ac.uk/industry/images/?action=search&search_type=artist_title&artist=forster&title=

 

 Mark Etheridge

Curatorial Assistant (Industry)

 

Vintage postcard heaven!

Postiwyd gan Jennifer Evans ar 15 Ionawr 2014

From an original watercolour by E. W. Trick

Published by Valentine's & Sons Ltd

 Some people really are very kind. An anonymous donor left a little packet of these delightful Welsh postcards in one of our departmental pigeon holes. They will be sent over to the Archives Department at St Fagans: Museum of National History but I couldn't resist posting a small selection of them here first.

 

From an original watercolour by Edward H. Thompson

Published by Valentine's & Sons Ltd

 

"CARBO COLOUR" postcard

Published by Valentine's & Sons Ltd

 

Published by E. T. W. Dennis & Sons Ltd, London and Scarborough

 

From an original watercolour by Brian Gerald

Published by Valentine's & Sons Ltd

 

From an original watercolour by Edward H. Thompson

Published by Valentine's & Sons Ltd

 

 

The cards are mostly landscape views of Llangollen but this bright little quartet was also included

 

 

Seven of the more picturesque cards were published by Valentine's & Sons Ltd as part of their "Art Colour" series and there is a good a bit of information available on the company via the links below: 

http://archiveshub.ac.uk/data/gb227-ms38562

http://www.collections.co.uk/postcards/publishers/valentine.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Valentine_(photographer)

Other publishers include E. T. W. dennis & Sons [London and Scarborough], N. P. O. Ltd [Belfast], J. Arthur Dixon Ltd. [G.B.], Judges Ltd. [Hastings, England], Walter Scott [Bradford], J. Salmon Ltd. [Sevenoakes, England], and Photo-Precision Ltd. [St Albans]. 

 

Unfortunately, none of the cards has been written on.

 

Rhagfyr 2013

An Industry Christmas Special

Postiwyd gan Mark Etheridge ar 18 Rhagfyr 2013

Christmas is almost upon us, and we thought we would bring you some festive cheer from the industry collections.

This Christmas Lego set was donated in 2000, and represents the post-1930 industry collections, and toy manufacture in Wales. The set comprises Father Christmas with reindeer and sleigh, and is complete with its original box. The brand name Lego comes from the Danish words "LEg GOdt" meaning to "play well" and in Latin it means “I put together”. In 1963 British Lego Ltd. set up a new headquarters and factory in Wrexham, Wales and this set was manufactured there. Production at Wrexham ceased in 1977.

 

 

This mug, sold in aid of the "1984 Miners Children Appeal", was manufactured by Commemorative Pottery. It depicts a festive scene with children dancing around a Christmas tree hung with miners flame safety lamps. On the reverse an inscription describes that the aim of the Striking Miners Children Appeal Support Fund was to create “a happier Christmas for the children of Britain’s Mineworkers” during the strike of 1984/85.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Window into the Industry Collections

Postiwyd gan Mark Etheridge ar 3 Rhagfyr 2013

This is the second of our monthly Blogs on the Industrial collections.

At the beginning of this year we were donated a painting titled “Frongoch Lead Mines Nr Aberystwyth”. This is by the artist P.S. Smith and it now joins three other paintings by this artist depicting lead mines of north Ceredigion. The artist was awarded a scholarship to Liverpool School of Art in 1942, but this was interrupted by National Service in the mines. Later he was Head of Art at Cardigan Grammar School, and was co-founder and chairman for many years of the Cardigan Art Society. He was inspired by the Cardiganshire landscape and its buildings. The four paintings in our collection can be seen on our online catalogue “Images of Industry” - http://amgueddfacms/en/industry/images/?action=show_works&item=1034&type=artist

 

 

Ian Smith, our Curator of Contemporary and Modern History has recently acquired two items for the collection that were made in Wales.

The first is a Hitachi CBP2038 television set. This was manufactured by Hitachi in Hirwaun in 1983. It was able to show teletext and was one of the first teletext models on the market. It came to us complete with stand and a remote control that slides in and out of the main television body.

These miniature figures were also recently donated to us. A member of the public had visited the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea and noticed that we had a lot of toys on display in our “Made in Wales” Gallery and so donated this "Miniature Masterpieces by Marx" set. The figures were manufactured by Louis Marx and Co. Ltd. of Fforestfach, Swansea in the early 1960s.

Some of our toy collection on display in the “Made in Wales” Gallery at the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea.

 

 

Tachwedd 2013

A Window into the Industry Collections

Postiwyd gan Mark Etheridge ar 1 Tachwedd 2013

Hello, and welcome to the first blog entry on our Industrial collections. In this blog we aim to let you know about some of the interesting and varied objects that enter the museum collections via our Industrial sites. These include Big Pit National Coal Museum, Welsh Slate Museum and National Waterfront Museum, as well as the National Collections Centre. We collect in all fields of industrial and maritime history and we hope through this blog to tell you more about new collections as they come into the museum and how we look after them.

Recently a number of unusual items have come into the collection relating to the coal industry.

Promotional keyring by Phurnacite Coal Products Ltd. Showing 'Phurnacite Man' in the shape of a coal briquette with arms and legs. This dates from c.1980s.

 

Four golf balls sold during the 1984-85 Miners' Strike. These show caricatures of Margaret Thatcher, Neil Kinnock, Arthur Scargill and Norman Tebbit.

 

 

This is an example of a Terry towelling baby’s nappy sold in the canteens of the National Coal Board. They would have been sold along with towels and soap. This example was purchased from Cwm Colliery cokework's canteen in the mid-1970s. The soap is stamped P.H.B. which stands for Pit Head Baths.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hydref 2013

Roots of power and herbs of healing... "remedies for weak men and nervous women"

Postiwyd gan Jennifer Evans ar 23 Hydref 2013

 

 

There is an odd story attached to this little booklet. Some time ago, I received a telephone call from a lady offering to donate a catalogue from an old Cardiff herbalist. It sounded intriguing and something that would fit in perfectly at the library over at our sister museum St Fagans: Museum of National History, so we gratefully accepted the offer. A few days later, the Librarian and I were weeding through a pile of old booklets and we noticed an old Cardiff herbalist catalogue [date written in red ink - 29/11/29] and I remember saying how bizarre it would be if this was the same catalogue as the one that was on its way to us. Yes, you guessed it, it turned out to be exactly the same one! We ended up keeping both copies, placing one at the St Fagans library and keeping one here at National Museum Cardiff.

What exactly went into the herbal remedies is one mystery now most likely beyond solving [many of the ingredients are listed but not all] but it is the naive and whimsical wording of the ailments themselves that are so interesting to us now [Remedies for weak men and nervous women, Poverty of nerve force and That don't care sort of feeling spring to mind] and this naivity is illustrated further with the Disney-like wizard and his bubbling cauldron on the cover.

I have done a little research but, apart from a few scanned newspaper advertisements, have found no other information on Trimnell except for one of his old medicine bottles that sold recently on Ebay for £1.99 [see photograph below].

Glamorgan Archives hold some limited information on Trimnell but no actual documentation.

All photographs [except the Ebay one above] in this post taken by the author.

The Fern Paradise

Postiwyd gan Jennifer Evans ar 1 Hydref 2013

A lovely pressed fern found between the pages of The Fern Paradise [1876] by Francis George Heath. I'm always a little disappointed that we don't find more pressed flowers in our old botany books so this really made my day.

How long has it been lying quietly cocooned between these dry secure pages? Who picked a live and vibrant frond one summers day and slipped it away never thinking it would stay hidden for decades? Did the sun shine that afternooon? What news was ringing around the world? So many questions...

All photographs in this post taken by the author

 

Awst 2013

Kunstformen der Natur

Postiwyd gan Jennifer Evans ar 23 Awst 2013

Step into a wonderland of colour, a celebration of the natural world in all its artistic and symmetrical glory...

Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919) was an eminent German zoologist who specialized in invertebrate anatomy. He named thousands of new species, mapped a genealogical tree relating all life forms, and coined many now ubiquitous terms in biology. A popularizer of Charles Darwin, Haeckel embraced evolution not only as a scientific theory, but as a worldview. He outlined a new religion or philosophy called monism, which cast evolution as a cosmic force, a manifestation of the creative energy of nature.

Haeckel’s chief interests lay in evolution and life development processes in general, including the development of nonrandom form, which culminated in the beautifully illustrated Kunstformen der Natur  - Art Forms of Nature, a collection of 100 detailed, multi-colour illustrations (lithographic and autotype) of animals and sea creatures prints. Originally published in sets of ten between 1899 and 1904, and as a complete volume in 1904.

The overriding themes of the Kunstformenplates are symmetry and organization, central aspects of Haeckel's monism. The subjects were selected to embody organization, from the scale patterns of boxfishes to the spirals of ammonites to the perfect symmetries of jellies and microorganisms, while images composing each plate are arranged for maximum visual impact.

Kunstformen der Natur played a role in the development of early twentieth century art, architecture, and design, bridging the gap between science and art. In particular, many artists associated with the Art Nouveau movement were influenced by Haeckel's images, including René Binet, Karl Blossfeldt, Hans Christiansen, and Émile Gallé.

Our copy of Kunstformen der Natur [photographed here] is a complete bound volume of all ten fascicules and sits in our folio section. It was donated to us in 1919 by the first Director of the National Museum of Wales [from 1909 to 1924], William Evans Hoyle. Hoyle’s trained as a medical anatomist and developed a life long interest in 'cephalopods'. Our BioSyB Department now holds Hoyle's cephalopod collection [over 400 of them] along with many other specimens and publications.

      

      

 

Haeckel biographical information:

Hoyle biographical information:

All photographs in this post taken by the author.